So I got George R.R. Martins latest book ‘A Feast for Crows’ delivered on Friday and spent a large part of the weekend reading it. The book has been something of a disapointment and its shortcomings are similar to the problems with recent Robert Jordan books, a cast of characters grown to big, the author not being able to cut away some dead meat and general verbiosity. The too many characters problem has the same origin in both George R.R. Martins and Robert Jordans books. They started out with a group of people and at that point their number wasn’t a problem, then they split the group up so no you need multiple storylines to cover them all. Neither author seems prepared to put any of their characters on the backburner either, turning them into secondary characters (at least for a while) although Martins did kill of a few of them in his first books.
Martins have also ended up splitting this fourh book into two, with the second part meant to come out next year. Problem is he split it mostly on a per character basis, which means that the next book will in many ways not move the story forward at all compared to this book. And this book did very little to move the story forward to begin with. Sigh.
I still think its a good book series, but Martin (and Jordan) should take to heart that even in multi-book epic series, sometimes less is more.
Have you read any of Stephen Erikson’s Malazan series? With five books so far, he seems to be doing a pretty good job of keeping things under control – while each book is a part of the greater story, each book is also a complete part of that story.
That’s something both Jordan and Martin seem to struggle with – their story overflows individual books, which end when they get too long, not when a part of the story ends.